Angela Chan Selected as Truman Scholar
Occidental College junior and Portland native Angela Chan has been selected as a 2000 Truman Scholar, one of 61 college students selected nationwide for their leadership potential, intellectual ability, and likelihood of “making a difference.”
Each Truman scholarship provides $30,000 -- $3,000 for the student’s senior year and the remainder for two or three years of graduate study. Recipients, chosen by 14 independent selection panels, must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding communication and leadership skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to a career in the public or non-profit sectors.
A sociology major, Chan is the oldest of the three children of Loi Fu and Samantha (Kalai Lei) Chan of Portland, Chinese immigrants from Guangdong Province who initially found work as a dishwasher/cook and a seamstress after their arrival in Oregon in the 1970s.
“When I first went to kindergarten, I didn’t speak any English, only Cantonese,” Chan said. “I was one of only two people of color in my entire class. They didn’t know what to do with me.”
With the strong support of her parents – now a restaurant owner and a real estate agent – today Chan is ranked at the top of her Occidental class with a 3.98 GPA.
Named “Freshman of the Year” at Occidental, she has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Paul K. and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Trusts to pursue her examination of ethnic solidarity and conflict among Chinese emigrant communities in Monterey Park, Calif., and London. She spent her fall semester studying Chinese and contemporary Chinese culture at China’s Nanjing University.
Past president of Occidental’s Chinese Culture Club, she also is an active participant in the college’s Asian-American Tutorial Program, teaching children at Castelar Elementary School in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. She is also a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Committee.
Less than a third of this year’s Truman Scholars attend a small four-year college or university. Chan is the eighth Occidental student to be named a Truman Scholar since 1990.
Located in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles, 113-year-old Occidental College is a selective, nationally ranked college of the liberal arts and sciences. Its 1,550-member student body combines diversity with academic excellence, having won three Rhodes scholarships and scores of other national awards over the past 10 years.